We sailed on the Elation August 2011. First of all, I am really disappointed that Carnival is leaving Mobile. The efficiency of the port was top rate. One of the best we've ever been too. It took us about 30-45 minutes from the time we pulled in to the bay to unload our car til the time we was on board sitting down for lunch. The garage on site was a nice plus. We've never had a long wait or bad experience boarding any Carnival Ships, but this one was exceptionally smooth.
Now for the review of the ship.
The Elation is a fantasy class ship and is in the middle of the evolutions of fun upgrades. The ship did not have the waterworks yet or the upgraded cabins with flat screens, but they were still really nice. We squeezed 5 into an ocean view room and found we had more than enough space for all of our belongings. Our room steward, Alit, was one of the most friendly stewards we've ever had. He came by our room 1st day right after we moved in and learned all 5 of our names. We saw him several times a day and he always made a point to call all of us by name and ask how we was. Our room was always tidy and there was a cute towel animal or two in our room every night. Next, our head waiter, Mehmet, he went above and beyond our expectations. He was very patient with our shy daughter and even had her dancing by the end of the trip. We never had to ask for anything and he always remembered our names and what we wanted to drink and special needs for each dinner. There was 8 of us traveling together and he treated all 8 of us like he had known us forever. We even have him on facebook as a friend.
Now for the ship itself, The whole ship was clean and tidy, there was always people cleaning and keeping it nice. The staff as always was exceptional, even the cleaning people made a point to look us in the eye whenever we passed and would ask how we were. Arriving at the piers for our shore excursions was painless as with most all fantasy class ships. We were able to get right off and on with no wait at both ports of call. Cozumel was excellent, been there a couple times and there is still so much left to do. Took the stingray excursion in Cozumel and was not disappointed. Price was reasonable. Calica, we took an excursion to Playa Del Carmen and was very happy with it.The food selections and quality on board were excellent. There is always food around whenever you want and almost whatever you want. When dining on the lido grill of buffets you will notice the waiters from the main dining room buzzing around keeping the area running as well and everywhere you look there is a waiter wanting to help you with whatever you need. Such pampering!!!!!!The deli additions to the fantasy class ships was a great thought as was the 24 hour pizzeria,only complaint is I wished they had a wider variety of toppings for us non fancy southerners. Speaking of southerners, the southern fried chicken on board was some of the best ever, make sure you try it along with a flat iron steak. The desert bar was also excellent with something for everyone, but the caramel cheesecake was to live for!!!! We had a strawberry soft serve ice cream on board that tasted like frozen nestle quick.
Now for the shows, we went to all the main shows in the main lounge and was very happy with them. The kids ages 9-15 all enjoyed themselves at the shows as well. We also took in a show in the comedy club. The two comedians on board were both very funny and had family and separate adults only shows. Disembarkation was a snap, never,ever choose self assist unless you want to be packed in the halls waiting. We choose to let them take our luggage the night before and next day took our time, had breakfast then waited for them to call us to leave. After a nice leisurely breakfast, we was able to walk right out, no lines. Here is a tip, when you leave, always let a porter take your bags to your car for you,it's worth the extra few bucks to go right past the homeland security lines. We book our cruises directly with a planner from Carnival and have always been completely satisfied. For the price, you can not beat the service or value of Carnival.
Oh, forgot to mention the pools, the lido pools both were nice, lots of room and the twister slide was fun. Hot tubs were right temperature. There was almost always a nice calypso band playing to keep us entertained and the bar wait staff kept our drinks flowing. The ship has putt putt and basketball courts on board and are allot of fun. There was always plenty of chairs available for us to sit near the pools.The dance clubs on board were all decorated tastefully and always hoping late in the evenings. The casino, well, it was nice, but as I am not in a habit of throwing money away, I did not participate in anything other than a few 2 cent slots. The piano bar was awesome, but we never did see a piano player in there. Maybe we went by at wrong times?
We did not use camp carnival but did see the camp counselors out with the other children and they always seemed to be having a good time. Photo ops are plenty on board, but save your money and only buy 1 or 2 as they will add up in a hurry. The prices in the gift shops are better than retail stores and you pay no tax. Wait til next to last day to buy your gifts though as all the shops including the photo shops run end of cruise blowout sales.